In 2017, I read 55 new books, and did probably 10-15 re-reads. (I don’t tend to keep track of re-reads, but I love re-reading books. Some books, comfort reads, I have read probably more than 50 times.) There was a time I read 80-100 books per year. There was probably a time when I read even more. I also read The Book of M by Peng Shepherd, which is not coming out until 2018–perks of being an author!
But I’m actually pleasantly surprised I read that many books this year. Because of politics, it was a hard year for me to get lost in fiction, though I always enjoyed it when I did.
Some stand-out books I read this year:
The Round House by Louise Erdrich – the first book of hers I’ve read, but not the last. It is at once a literary coming-of-age story, a mystery, and revenge tale.
Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfar – the first book I read by an NYU classmate, but not the last!
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari – a fascinating, and sometimes infuriating book about the history of humanity
Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith – a wildly inventive novel about the end of the world brought about by giant bugs, but more importantly, a coming-of-age story about a dick obsessed bisexual teenage boy in the midwest
Greensleeves by Eloise Jarvis McGraw – another coming of age story, by the author of one of my favorite middle-grade books (Master Cornhill). I read this as a teen, but I don’t think I finished it then.
Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy by Heather Ann Thompson – Pulitzer prize-winning and for good reason, this book is harrowing and impossible to put down
The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemesin – the first book of The Broken Earth Trilogy. It was amazing and emotionally challenging, and I need to read the rest of the series before I write much more about it.
Alice by Christina Henry – a grim, spare, and inventive retelling of Alice in Wonderland, about magic, insanity, sex trafficking, and privilege. It’s amazing how much Henry manages to do in this short volume.
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke – I always knew I would read this someday, and I was saving it for the right time, which turned out to be Christmas 2017. A wonderful book to get lost in.
The Silk Roads: A New History of the World by Peter Frankopan – makes the argument that the history of civilization is much better told centered on the Silk Road than Western Europe, and then proceeds to do just that.
City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett – the conclusion to Bennett’s Divine Cities series, which I’ve written about here. Among the many wonderful things this book does is interrogate and undermine the idea of a singular hero, fueled by his pain.